From water activities, beach days, and delicious food there’s no shortage of fun things to do in the Florida Keys. Of course, where you’re staying, your budget, and your interest will ultimately determine what to do. But you’re almost guaranteed to have a good time here.
We love being able to RV the Florida Keys because we can move from key to key to enjoy the best of each area. No matter where you are staying, this guide will share the top things to do in the Florida Keys for your next trip.
1. Get out on the water
The keys are mostly known for water activities. Things like snorkeling, boating, sport fishing, diving, kiteboarding, or kayaking are popular activities. If you don’t have your own boat you can hire a charter that can take you on a private fishing, snorkeling, or diving trip.
This can run you several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on the type and length of the activity. For those trying to stretch their budget, you can join a more economical group tour.
Curry Hammock State Park and John Pennekamp State Park offer half and full-day snorkeling tours. You can also book group tours through private companies. Many of the same parks and companies will also offer kayaks, paddle boards, or canoes for rent as well. John Pennekamp State Park has fantastic mangrove trails for paddling with a kayak and canoe rental facility on site.
Some popular tours are:
Manatees and Mangroves Tour in Key Largo: This guided tour will ensure you don’t get lost (like we did) and help you better understand the ecosystem you’re paddling through.
Traveling to Key West? You can snorkel in the crystal clear waters near a reef. And (fingers crossed) see dolphins on this tour.
Want a relaxing day out on a sand bar? This tour will take you for a few hours to chill in the Carribean blue waters with lunch and water gear included!
In the video below we got out on the water during our stay at John Pennekamp State Park (snorkeling and paddling) and had a blast!
If you’re going to spend an extended period of time in the Florida Keys we highly recommend investing in your own inflatable kayak or stand-up paddle board. If you take them out just two times they will have more than paid for themselves compared to renting.
2. Relax on the beach
Many visitors are actually surprised to learn that unlike most other parts of Florida with expansive stretches of beaches, the Florida Keys doesn’t have many beaches.
Bahia Honda State Park is home to one of the most popular and prettiest beaches. If you aren’t camping there you can pay a day fee to relax on the beach.
If you’re staying near Marathon, you can also go to Sombrero Beach one of the few beaches with free public access. It’s also a dog-friendly beach (on a leash) and has calm waters making it the perfect family-friendly beach.
John Pennekamp has several small beach areas to enjoy as well. Like Bahia Honda, if you aren’t able to stay overnight at the campground you can pay a day fee to enter the park and relax on the beaches.
Smather’s Beach is the closest beach to Key West. Despite it being over 2 miles long its proximity to Key West makes it a popular getaway on a sunny day. If you’re prepared to brave the crowds the views can be worth it.
3. Explore the natural side of the Florida Keys
Lobsters, warm sunshine, salty breeze, and umbrellas in my drink flutter to my mind when I just hear the words “the Florida Keys”. But it’s only one side of the Keys.
One of the top things to do in the Florida Keys is to get outside and explore the native plants and animals of the barrier islands. Most of the state parks have short trails you can walk. Walk along the shoreline or go deep into the mangroves. Either way, you’re sure to see loads of native plants and animals.
If you’re near Marathon, we highly recommend visiting Crane Point Hammock. The park has a 100-year-old homemade completely from ground-up sea shells. You can learn about the history of Marathon including the native Calusa tribe that called this area home.
4. Visit Key West
No trip to the Florida Keys is complete without a visit to Key West. Visiting Key West is by far one of the top things to do in the Florida Keys. This very popular tourist destination is a one-stop shop for day drinking, delicious food, rich history, and crazy characters.
This place is always happening and you never know what you’re going to see when you’re there. If you’re into history, we highly recommend booking a tour to visit the Hemingway House where famed author Ernest Hemingway lived in the 1930s.
If you’re patient enough, wait in what’s sure to be an incredibly long line for a picture at the Southern Most Point. Also, don’t miss the sunset in Mallory Square. This popular spot will be filled with other tourists, street performers, and vendors selling their fares.
Of course, you’ll want to enjoy some of the delicious drinks and food Key West has to offer. Key West has an open container law, allowing you to drink and walk along the historic center. Grab a beer at the Waterfront Brewery, which is the only brewery on the island, and gawk at the million-dollar yachts that line the marina.
More in the “center of town” is our favorite bar in Key West, Bar Agave. They specialize in tequila and make some pretty incredible margaritas! While they’re in a pretty touristic part of the Keys, if you blinked you’d miss it. We like to go there because it’s quiet, it gives us refuge from the heat and Key West noise.
5. Eat amazing food
There is no shortage of great restaurants to try in the Florida Keys. Below are a few of our favorite restaurants in the Keys.
- Garbos Grill: Asian-Mexican fusion served from a vintage Airstream with an outdoor patio. They only have 9 items on their menu, but everything is delicious.
- Bad Boy Burrito: This walk-up-and-order burrito joint serves way better than average burritos, prepped and made fresh daily. They also have a restaurant in Islamorada!
- Antonio’s: If you’re looking for a nice dinner out, Antonio’s is the perfect place. This upscale restaurant makes incredible authentic Italian food.
- Burdine’s Waterfront: This run-of-the-mill restaurant serves typical foods like burgers and fries, and fried or blackened fish sandwiches overlooking the water.
- La Isla Taco Grill: Craving some Mexican food? La Isla Taco Grill serves quesadillas, tacos, elotes, and burritos in a fun cabana setting.
- Irie Island Eats: This is a new food truck that serves local island-inspired foods. Think jerk shrimp skewers, tuna stuffed avocado, and Kalua pork.
- The Square Grouper: Mid-scale fresh seafood dishes from freshly caught local seafood. It’s got a creative menu and it’s a super cute restaurant.
- Bayside Gourmet: If you get tired of fresh seafood head on over to Bayside Gourmet an Italian restaurant with pasta and pizzas.
- What the Roll?: This low-key restaurant offers different sandwiches, rolls, and tacos with a variety of fish.
- Marker 88: The food is just okay. But its waterfront dining is what makes it a must-visit. This is also where we watched one of the best sunsets of our lives. Order their key lime pie. It’s one of the best we had in the Keys.
- The Fish House (Key Largo): This somewhat kitschy restaurant has super cozy vibes and a wide variety of fish dishes from the fresh catch of the day. You can also pick up fresh fish from the counter if you prefer to cook at home.
- C&C Wood Fired Eats: The only wood-fired pizza restaurant in all of the Florida Keys. This restaurant has a wide variety of delicious Italian dishes from cheese boards, to wood-fired roasted veggies, and salads.
- Harriette’s: This iconic breakfast spot is known for their freshly baked muffins and amazing breakfast dishes. It’s loved by locals and tourists alike. Missed breakfast but still hungry? Don’t worry they serve lunch too.
Of course, there are countless other fantastic restaurants and bars to enjoy all throughout the Keys. These are just a few of the highlights.
6. Enjoy the beautiful sunsets
If there is only one thing you do when RVing the Florida Keys, you should enjoy a sunset. The sunsets in the Keys are truly like no other! Not all of the Florida Keys are great for sunsets though. As some face east. You ideally want to be in a west-facing beach or restaurant to get the most out of the sunsets.
Some of the top spots for watching the sunset in the Florida Keys are:
- Marker 88 (Islamorada)
- The Island Fish Company and Tiki Bar (Islamorada)
- Sunset Pier (Islamorada)
- Morada Bay Beach Cafe (Islamorada)
- Plantation Hammock Preserve (Islamorada)
- Mallory Square (Key West)
- Sunset Pier (Key West)
- The Island Fish Company and Tiki Bar (Marathon)
Want to get out on the water for sunset? In Key West, you can take a sunset cruise on a catamaran with food, an open bar, and music.
Hopefully, this blog post has shown you some of the top things to do in the Florida Keys to make the most of your trip. If you’re planning a trip here in an RV, make sure to reserve your spot now and explore some of the options for camping. As camping spots in the Florida Keys go fast!